Laidlaw leads Scotland fightback to keep title hopes alive

Laidlaw leads Scotland fightback to keep title hopes alive

Laidlaw leads Scotland fightback to keep title hopes alive

Gregor Townsend believes a hammering by Wales in their Six Nations opener was not a reflection of the "true Scotland" as he backed his side to raise their game against France at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Laidlaw is reunited with stand-off Finn Russell at half-back, with this Sunday's Test the scrum-half's first Scotland start since being injured in the corresponding fixture past year in Paris.

Prop Simon Berghan is the only addition to the starting side that was not part of last weekend's 23-man squad as he is now available following the completion of a six-week suspension. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh Rugby) 20.

Laidlaw, who was replaced as captain permanently at the start of the year by John Barclay after almost seven years at the helm, will win his 60th cap for his country and will attempt to get a re-jigged back line firing on all cylinders after failing to live up to their attacking reputation on the opening weekend. Huw Jones broke the line before going over.

He is an important player for Scotland given that he was captain for a long time.

"Greig has got a lot of experience".

But Townsend wasn't getting away from the fact that some players had dropped to the bench or out of the 23 altogether for blunter reasons.

He said: "We hope it will be a really important factor".

Scotland are odds-on favourites for this match although 11 defeats in 12 matches against France suggest this is not a bet worth taking.

Gregor Townsend's side came into the competition with high expectations after their progress previous year which included a record win over Australia and a narrow defeat to New Zealand. Wales were able to live off our mistakes because we were trying to play fast all the time when maybe we were not set. But it was France, who were unlucky last Saturday against Ireland, that started like a bull at the gate at Murrayfield thanks to the tremendous Teddy Thomas.

"As a group we're delighted to be playing at home in front of another sell-out crowd and are looking forward to putting in a performance that can energise our supporters", said the head coach.

"We've got to adapt to that".

"We gave away too many easy points". "We take them to places they don't want to go".

Down by 10 again, Scotland needed to respond quickly, and they did so with a superb score by Jones.

"We were a bit more direct in the second half, and we got our rewards".

"You have to be tough to beat and we weren't at the weekend".

"I don't think many people were expecting it and the fans are probably quite right to be a bit hacked off after a game like that, but no-one's hurting more than the players, so we need to put it right as well".

"We are determined to recapture how we played in 2017 - and not what we've shown so far in 2018".

Russian aircraft crashes after takeoff from Moscow
3 dead, 4 injured in Grand Canyon chopper crash